‘We are scared’: Nanoose Bay farmers plead for help as cougar preys on their sheep

'We are scared': Nanoose Bay farmers plead for help as cougar preys on their sheep

Fear was running so high on a Nanoose Bay farm Sunday that Jennifer Kube-Njenga watched for a cougar in the neighbouring ravine while her husband put up a second fence to protect their sheep from it.

“I’m fearful for my husband, I’m fearful for the kid next door,” Kube-Njenga told CHEK News.

According to the Nanoose Bay farmers, the cougar that has killed three sheep so far, which they captured on surveillance video pulling a sheep from their farm, was back stalking their sheep again on Sunday morning.

“It is serious, we are scared. Because we know the cat is still around,” said Peter Njenga.

“Right now, she could not go anywhere. I could not do this fencing, second fence alone because anything can happen. They can jump anywhere, and they can kill anyone.”

On the other side of the ravine, Brant Protasiewich spent another sleepless night Saturday, armed with a rifle, protecting his herd.

“Exhausted. It stalks us in the bushes,” said Protasiewich.

READ PREVIOUS: ‘We need a trap’: Nanoose farmers sleepless as cougar kills sheep

The Nanoose Bay farmer said he is frustrated that after seven days of the animal making itself at home in Nanoose Creek’s protected ravine, it has killed three sheep and injured three more. Despite BC Conservation Officers visiting the scene, they still have not set up a trap to catch and relocate it.

“And the cougar is attacking during the daytime,” said Protasiewich.

“He is a scared man, I am a scared man. It is frustrating,” said Njenga.

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Parksville-Qualicum MLA Adam Walker said this story speaks to how stretched BC Conservation Officers are. They carry large caseloads over large areas and deal with increasing human-wildlife conflicts.

“It is growing like we’ve never seen before. We’re hoping that the province will see this call and will increase funding for conservation officers because this conflict is only going to get worse,” Walker told CHEK News.

Walker said he had reported an injured black bear that had moved onto his farm days ago, but he hadn’t received a call back about it.

“This bear has been in my yard for two or three days now. It’s been sleeping in my neighbour’s carport, and we haven’t heard back from conservation,” said Walker.

In a statement to CHEK News, the Conservation Officer Service said that officers “are continuing to monitor cougar activity in the area. They will respond as needed to ensure people and property are protected.”

Though for Nanoose Bay farmers, that response can’t come soon enough.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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